The Joint by Joint Approach to Training for Movement Health

The Joint by Joint approach to training is a simplified view of how we move and the tendencies we all have toward dysfunction. It all began with a conversation between physical therapist Gray Cook and functional training pioneer Mike Boyle. It simply describes our bodies as a stack of joints that function in an alternating pattern of stability and mobility. This of course is in the presence of optimal movement. From a clinical perspective, however, what we have come to realize is that whether we are active or live a sedentary lifestyle, we all posses tendencies that disrupt this pattern in the same way, leading to overuse and inefficiency.

Starting from the ground up let’s consider the following…

  • Stable feet provide us with a foundation for posture and movement.

  • Mobile ankles are necessary to propel us through gait.

  • Stable knee, essentially a hinge joint, and needs to be under control.

  • Mobile hip, big ball and socket and built to move.

  • Stable lumbar spine and pelvis, if not, you get to know us pretty well.

  • Mobile thoracic spine for force transfer and efficient breathing

We could follow this up through the entire kinetic chain, but I think you get the idea. Given the complexity of the human body there are always exceptions, but if you follow these guidelines, your training will ultimately become more efficient and effective.

1. Maintaining mobility in your ankle will help preserve your knees and decrease the likelihood of developing foot problems.

2. Maintaining mobility in your hips will help preserve your low back and decrease the likelihood of developing knee problems.

3. Maintaining mobility in your thoracic spine (mid back) will help preserve your neck and decrease the likelihood of developing low back pain.

So how do we maintain mobility in these key joints? Stay tuned for training tips and interventions to improve your movement health, or to see how you stack up to the concept of Joint by Joint training, contact Acceleration Sports Medicine for an assessment today!

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